Mayor to stop city budget funding for Uptown Columbus next year

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Ross Horner, the CEO of Uptown Columbus says he put a presentation together for city council this week.

It was all in an effort to show what Uptown Columbus provides with the city’s financial help.

The Mayor is also weighing in. She says there are other funds available for Uptown Columbus.

After the Uptown Columbus presentation, Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson announced Wednesday the city’s new budget will not include funding for Uptown events in the 2018 fiscal year.

That’s a loss of $25,000.

News 3 wanted to know what this means for events like The Concert Series and Market Saturdays for example.

“I think it’s the same for the city. We have to take a look at what we’re providing and what kinds of things can we provide going forward.” says Horner.

Horner says prior to this week’s budget review meeting he was told by city council that funds for next year were low and that it was likely Uptown Columbus funds would be cut.

“These operational dollars were provided by the city and they were very important to us in being able to provide…not only the free events but also the amenities,” he says.

Just a few of those amenities include the park and Splash Pad at the Riverwalk, both of which are some of the newest additions to Uptown Columbus.

Horner says the 25 thousand dollar annual subsidy contributed to the growth and vibrancy of Uptown Columbus.

“Over the last year we increased 18 percent in our gross receipts. That’s a substantial amount of money and over the last six years we’ve increased 43 percent in our gross receipts. Last year alone we returned 1.8 million dollars in sales tax receipts directly to the city.” says Horner.

The Mayor also provided a statement to News 3 on her decision to cut funding. It reads in part, “… The 25 thousand dollar subsidy to uptown in last year’s budget was the final subsidy. It was done over a six year process to gradually reduce uptown’s public subsidy.”

The Mayor says other funds are available to Uptown.

Another portion of her statement says, “In lieu of the annual subsidy Uptown now has a TAD district and will have available hundreds of thousands of dollars in infrastructure monies for improvements to Uptown.”

In response, Horner says when it comes to funding events that help the city thrive, he and his team will have to go back to the drawing board in an effort to try to keep them around.

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